Old Faithfuls Return

June 1998

Gemstones & Pearls:News

Old Faithfuls Return

As if on schedule, amethyst, citrine, peridot and blue topaz return to popularity, but they're bigger and more creatively cut this time around

There is a refreshing renaissance of the "old faithful" gemstones. Open any consumer publication to see amethyst, citrine, peridot and blue topaz confidently building a comeback in rings, bracelets and necklaces that dazzle eyes and quicken hearts with their bold, honest colors. These are jewels for the gem's sake, where you notice the color first and the metal harnessing it second. Lots of big names accompany these new creations - Marina B.'s "Patrizia" rings or H. Stern's "Justine" collection, for example.

The twist in this comeback is the way in which these stones are cut and the sizes in which they come - there's a definite move away from small, calibrated goods. Manufacturers demand precise, innovative faceting that best return light and color. Cabochons, briolettes, buff-tops and bullet shapes redefine the use of the old faithfuls. Because of the abundance and low cost of most of this material, it's OK to be daring. As part of this trend, Hammerman Bros., New York City, developed a line called the "Cemi" collection. "There seems to be a move away from pavé," says Brett Hammerman.

Gemstone dealers watch as well as participate in the unfolding drama. "There's a return to larger jewelry, and manufactured lines require what is readily available," says Cynthia Renée of Cynthia Renée Co., Fallbrook, CA. "It needs to be inexpensive and easily repeatable. The result is bold, exciting, take-no-prisoners jewelry.

Of course, some designers and manufacturers never abandoned amethyst, citrine, blue topaz or peridot. These "bread-and-butter" gems never quite go out of style. David Yurman has always used the old faithfuls and even includes some more esoteric items in his quartz lines, such as oro verde or "green gold" quartz, a bright yellowish green material reminiscent of peridot. Peridot itself is the strongest it's ever been, partly due to a return of hippie chic, with chartreuse color variations, and partly because supplies of peridot have never been as plentiful. Arizona, Pakistan, Burma and China are all supplying vast quantities of peridot in repeatable colors and sizes, some of them destined for high-end jewelry.

Though many have given up blue topaz for dead, the truth is it's doing just fine. It's taking part in the renaissance, meeting the requirements of availability at a moderate price. There's more to blue topaz's return though, and Esther Wong of Livingstone Jewelry, Los Angeles, CA, thanks the movie Titanicfor that. "Everything that's blue is back," she says emphatically. "A lot of dealers are stocking up who didn't before." Esther Aezen, director of public relations at Lagos, Philadelphia, PA, affirms that blues - the shades of the ocean - as well as citrus colors are definitely back. "As we approach the millennium," she says, "the whole feel of water and earth becomes important again." Lagos designed a collection called the "Glacier" series that incorporates these colors, strictly in emerald cuts. It sells briskly at Nieman Marcus. "We want our customers to feel that this jewelry is important and beautiful; an heirloom that can be passed on," she says.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Hammerman Bros.' "Cemi Collection" of bangle bracelets featuring blue topaz, peridot, citrine and amethyst.

 Lagos' new line featuring blue topaz is called the "Glacier Collection."

Blue topaz, peridot and citrine are featured in the rings, and amthyst adorns the slider from Livingstone Co.

 Consumer advertising highlights the old faithfuls. The Marina B. ad features 18k yellow and white gold rings with citrine, blue topaz and amethyst.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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